Your view counts say police in Galloway

The Your View Counts survey has provided us with a very useful indicator of the perceptions of local people in Dumfries and Galloway in respect of crime and the quality of policing service.

If you wish to make any comment around the service provided by the local police or the problems in the area in which they live, then police are encouraging people to go to the Your View Counts page on the Police Scotland website and take a few minutes to complete the online survey.

Two of the areas that have been highlighted as particularly problematic in the Dumfries and Galloway area is antisocial behaviour and violence.

Levels of violent crime have fallen drastically across the country in the last few years and it has been no different in Dumfries and Galloway where, over recent years, violent crime in the region has in fact been lower than it ever has been in the previous 30 years.

A police spokesman said: “So far this year Galloway has seen a very slight upturn in overall violent crime but that doesn’t mean that our streets have suddenly become unsafe. In fact, much of the violent crime that occurs takes place behind closed doors and certainly not in our streets or public places.

“Of course, when violence does occur, there is one contributory factor which crops up time and again and that is alcohol. In a large majority of cases the perpetrator of the violence is under the influence.

“Indeed much of the recent huge reductions in public space violent crime can be attributed in part to stricter licensing laws, better management by the owners and operators of licensed premises and, of course, better targeted policing around hotspots.

“I think it should also be encouraging to note that the vast majority of violent crime is detected. This year at the moment our detection rates sit at 82% for overall violent crime in Dumfries and Galloway and when you consider serious violent crime (mainly serious assault and robbery) we have in fact thus far in 2016 detected all but one of these crimes.

“Our strong public support in the region allows us to maintain this exceptionally high rate of detection and I’m grateful to those who come forward to ensure perpetrators of violence end up where they belong.

When most people talk about antisocial behaviour, they are generally referring to vandalism or rowdiness in public caused by young people in the main. I should first of all say that we should realise as a community that young people who come to our attention are a tiny minority of our young population. The vast majority of our young people are decent law abiding citizens who care about their community every bit as much as the adults. Because it is such a minority, this year we have had success in addressing some problem areas. Early in the year there were a spate of vandalisms to vehicles in one particular area of Dumfries. With some fantastic support from the community we were able to take decisive action which led to the main perpetrators being arrested and reported for several crimes. So again, while there may have been an increase in crimes which you would ordinarily consider as antisocial behaviour type crimes, we have reacted strongly in partnership with these communities to put a quick stop to it. This will not eradicate the problem unfortunately but we will continue to increase our proactivity to ensure that we are visible, not only to communities, but to those who want to engage in this destructive behaviour. In short, if they do it in all likelihood we’ll catch them.

I would again remind everyone that we are lucky to live in a region which has extremely low crime rates. My guarantee as your local Divisional Commander is that, as long as we continue to get that strong support from communities, it will remain that way and we’ll continue to enjoy living and working in the best region of Scotland.